Santana expected to return to lineup Thursday

First baseman has missed four games because of back spasms

Santana expected to return to lineup Thursday

CHICAGO -- Carlos Santana didn't start his fourth straight game Wednesday night with back spasms, but the Indians first baseman is expected to return for the finale of the four-game series with the White Sox on Thursday.

"He was much, much better," manager Terry Francona said before Wednesday night's game. "I actually held the lineup out for a while because he was feeling pretty good.

"I think, by his own admission, he thinks he'll be ready to go tomorrow. Maybe he'll be available tonight, but if he is, he would be feeling really good because we're not gonna wait three days and then chance it. But I think he feels tomorrow he'll be good to go."

John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.